Articles on Teaching Reading by PREL

photo of "The Reading Teacher" & "Reading Research Quarterly"

The Reading Teacher & Reading Research Quarterly

When I began in the master’s program for teaching reading, I ran across many unfamiliar words. I also read about areas of teaching reading for which I knew the basics, but did not have enough background knowledge to fully understand the text from which I was trying to learn more. Reading the International Reading Association’s journal, The Reading Teacher, was difficult to digest. Their journal, Reading Research Quarterly, was just plain frustrating because I was unfamiliar with how research studies were presented and all the statistic terminology associated with them.

I taught second language learners for five years and I grouped my read alouds in themes in order to help build their vocabularies and concepts of the world. Before beginning the unit, I carefully read all the books I had that related to the theme and focused on the vocabulary and level of difficulty in the concepts presented. Then, I made a list of the order in which I would read them to my students. I ordered them so that I would read aloud the books with the simplest vocabulary first and the books with the most complicated vocabulary last. Typically, books with the simplest vocabularies just give a brief overview of the concept and those with the most challenging vocabulary dig much deeper into the concept. Therefore, when we got to the more conceptually difficult texts, the students at least were already familiar with the vocabulary. Although I have never read any studies on the importance of doing this, I think it was a great help for them and I would highly recommend teachers and parents do the same. After all, we would not take French III before taking French I and really expect to understand, would we?

While in the master’s program, I reflected on how I so carefully ordered those texts and I wished that someone had organized what I was now reading in the same way. I knew I was missing so much because of my limited vocabulary and background knowledge of teaching reading. Luckily, one day, while using Google to find some resources, I ran across the Pacific Resources for Education and Learning (PREL) website and found their “Focus” series. I read several of their articles, or booklets, and fell in love! They were so clearly written and they used large font and pictures, too! I am not sure if I knew it then, but widely cited reading researchers also write them. Overall, I really learned a lot from them and they really helped bring together everything else I was reading in a very cohesive way. I consider them great foundational pieces for understanding how to teach reading effectively.

I added a few of the articles to the External Link Categories area of this blog. I know that the more I add to the sidebars, the more scrolling you will have to do, so I did not include them all. However, I included a link to all of the articles in the “Favorite Articles, Charts & Videos” section. I hope you will find them as helpful as I did.

I wonder what articles and texts really helped you understand what are now known as the five pillars of reading: phonemic awareness, phonics/decoding, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension or if you are still on the lookout for such resources.

By the way, my understanding of the vocabulary used in teaching reading has grown so much that I now consider reading “The Reading Teacher” easy reading. However, “Reading Research Quarterly,” although easier, is still challenging due to my limited understanding of statistics. I always liked to show my students both journals and explain to them how the level of difficulty changed for me as my vocabulary size grew. It is important that they know the larger their vocabulary, the more complicated texts they will be able to understand. Word consciousness (which I will write about in future posts) is so important–especially for children who begin school with a vocabulary size much smaller than their peers.

Here is a link to the PREL articles: PREL Booklets. They have booklets for assessment, comprehension, fluency, English language learners, professional development, vocabulary, help at home, middle grades, older struggling readers, and several others.

Note: If you have taken the time to read this, would you please take a second to click on the stars below to rate this post? Thanks a bunch–I always appreciate feedback. In addition, if you like a comment, I encourage you to click on the “Like” button so the “Sort by” drop-down menu will be useful. Thanks again and happy TWRCing! :)

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  • Michelle Breum

    These look very good based on the titles alone. I plan to take some time to read them and add a link to a reading resource page at the top of my blog after some evaluation. Do you know what year were these written? Thanks for the excellent resource!

  • Julie Niles Petersen

    Hi Michelle,

    The few I just checked all had a copyright date on the second page ranging from 2003-2005. Apparently, I was getting them hot off the press at that time! :)

    Happy reading!

    P.S. Readers can find your blog by clicking on your name. I am so happy to go on this journey of sharing resources for teaching reading with you.

  • Michelle Breum

    Very good! I can't wait to read them. Thanks again for sharing.

  • Michelle Breum

    I added a link to this post on my resource page.
    You'll find it under the heading: Great Post to Check Out From Other Bloggers, Teaching Reading. I love your resources in the side bar.

  • Julie Niles Petersen

    Thanks, Michelle!

  • Julie Niles Petersen

    You're very welcome.

  • Keith Schoch

    These look like great resources! Thanks for sharing! I think it's important that teachers do know and use the “language” of reading, in the same way that math teachers should know and use the proper vocabulary when teaching mathematics.

  • Julie Niles Petersen

    You're welcome, Keith. I'm so glad you stopped by. I hope you know how much I admire your blogs. I'm glad you registered for this site so that people can click on your name to find your blogs.

    Your comment here inspired my latest post:… . It also made me TWRC. I wondered just how difficult the vocabulary was in “The Reading Teacher,” so I pulled out a copy and randomly opened it to two separate two-page spreads. Then, I scanned it looking for challenging vocabulary and/or concepts. Here is what I found:

    interactional ethnographic perspective
    critical discourse analysis
    discursively constructed
    corpus of ethnographic records

    not valid tests of the construct of fluency
    fails to separate outcomes from means
    issues of consequential validity

    Then I pulled out a “Reading Research Quarterly” journal and flipped to a random two page spread and a two page spread containing data analysis (I still find this challenging). Here are some challenging words & phrases I found:

    ATLAS.ti qualitative data analysis software program
    social activity domains that contextualized the events
    literacy brokering
    vocabulary-related brokering
    culture-related brokering
    genre brokering

    analyzed with a two-way, repeated-measure ANOVA
    post-hoc analyses
    not found to be significantly different at the p = .05 level
    the difference among approaches was not significant at the p =.05 level (p = .055; d=.460)
    Means (SD) and Analysis of Variance Results for Transfer-Task Length (by Number of Idea Units) and Quality Scores by Approach for Year 2
    The discourse was labored
    *Note: This two page data analysis spread seemed much less challenging than most.

    In general, yes, reading teachers should use the language of reading in the same way that content teachers should use their specialized terminology. All teachers should also use academic language across disciplines. However, I do not think I would use many of the words and phrases from above with elementary school students and I do not think you are actually suggesting I do so.

    Thanks again for stopping by and making me TWRC, Keith. This will probably lead to another post down the line. :)

  • Keith Schoch

    I'm absolutely on the same page with you re the vocab; while it's good to know the technical terms, I wouldn't share most with students. There are simply easier terms to describe what's happening in literature and writing.

    And in truth, those terms you shared from the first pages you looked at (interactional ethnographic perspective, critical discourse analysis, discursively constructed, corpus of ethnographic records, dialogic) sound like someone's attempt to use lots of buzzwords to either a) impress their peers, b) trumpet importance for otherwise ordinary findings, or c) use “eduspeak” in a manner that they feel the publication demands. I find that stuff just irritating. It kind of ticks me off that reading and writing teachers, who teach the importance of clear communication all day long, will dump this drek on their colleagues!

    The style you see on my blogs is about as academic and cerebral as I get. So hopefully I didn't come across as contradicting anything you said, and you were right when you said “I do not think I would use many of the words and phrases from above with elementary school students and I do not think you are actually suggesting I do so.”

    I love your blog and your RTs on Twitter! Keep up the good TWRC!


  • Keith Schoch

    Thanks for the comment at Teach with Picture Books.

    You know what's really funny? I saw that vid on your site (Content and
    Reading Comprehension) and wrote a post earlier this evening referencing it
    (and your site) at How to Teach a Novel
    (_http://howtoteachanovel.blogspot.com_ ( ).

    Check it out!

    Keith Schoch
    _ (

    _ _ (http://teachw _http://howtoteachanovel.blogspot.com_

    _ (

  • Julie Niles Petersen

    The saying, “Great minds think alike” is coming to mind here. :)

    Your post was fabulous as usual, Keith. I left a comment. I really look forward to learning and sharing with you. I like people who make me TWRC! :)

  • Julie Niles Petersen


    Both of the journals I referenced in this post are published by the International Reading Association and I think they would fall into your category c. “The Reading Teacher” is definitely the easier read. Although they can be difficult to comprehend at times, I have learned so much from both and I highly recommend them to all teachers of reading. Sadly, I feel that much is misunderstood (or not understood at all) by teachers (especially those without a reading specialist credential) because of the limited course requirements in teaching reading for pre-service teachers. In California, I was only required to take one course on teaching reading. (I think it's up to two now). That is simply not enough.

    Thanks for the kudos and comments, Keith and I will be happy to keep up the good “TWRC!: :D